Canada at the World Cup 1986

Discussion in 'Canada' started by Moaca, Jun 5, 2006.

  1. Moaca

    Moaca Member

    Mar 8, 2006
    Thought it would be interesting to see how FIFA saw the 1986 Canadian World Cup team. This is all of the information and photos taken from the four WC 1986 FIFA technical report pdfs regarding Canada.,1252,3,00.html

    Group Analysis: Group C
    Canada started as rank outsiders to the tournament, Hungary had it their own way and the favourites-the USSR and France-asserted themselves.

    All four teams had difficulties with the fields of play. At first the lawn was too high in both stadia. After having been cut time and again, it still proved to be too thick and too soft. Low passes lost speed and players who tried to dribble not rarely tripped over the ball. It impaired the quality of the games and for those players provided with brilliant skills it was an obvious handicap.

    The Soviet side impressed the spectators by their pace, toughness in tackling, skill, tactical flexibility and determined putting away of chances.

    Owing to an excellent skill of all team members, France displayed an elegant style of play and excelled by a great mutual understanding and their flair for a variable play. Against Canada and Hungary, the French seemed to play in third gear. In the encounter with the USSR, they proved to have tactical discipline and maturity.

    Hungary disappointed all amateurs of football and could never recover from their 0:6 defeat against the Soviets. The Hungarian team performed far beneath their actual value, had forgotten all their virtues and made a depressed impression.

    From the beginning, Canada had nothing to lose, ran and fought bravely and sold their skin dearly. But their abilities were clearly limited. Their finishing was insufficient. In return, they proved to be a real enrichment for the tournament thanks to their enthusiasm and their very refreshing style of play.

    Canada surprised the experts. Particularly in the game against France they exceeded the expectations and only lost 0.1. Bridge and Samuel (below against Rocheteau) distinguished themselves especially by their excellent tackling. The participation of Canada proved to be a benefit to the World Cup Finals and will undoubtedly help to make soccer more popular in that country.


    The Players
    The North American Soccer League (NASL) was disbanded in the beginning of 1985. This also caused the dissolution of many professional clubs. The international players Wilson, Ragan, Samuel, James, Dolan and Habermann could not find a new club. Therefore, they were available to their national manager for a long preparation programme.

    About half of the Canadian players got a job with clubs of the Major Indoor Soccer League (MISL) and thus were able to participate in the American indoors championship.

    Three players found a job abroad: Bridge played at La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland), Moore was under contract with Glentoran Belfast and Vrablic scored goals for Seraing in Belgium. Youngster Paul James was invited for a test training by Arsenal, but was not engaged.

    The Canadian team was composed of players from various countries. Seven of the standard players were born abroad, emigrated to Canada later on and became naturalized: Gray and Norman came from Scotland, James from Wales, Lettieri was born in Italy and Samuel in Trinidad. Vrablic's country of origin was the CSSR and Segota came from Yugoslavia.

    Team Organization
    The team organization and the conception of play were typically British: a classic 4-4-2 system with an overall zonal marking.

    Young Dolan guarded the goal in Canada's first game against France. In the following matches standard goalkeeper Lettieri was given preference again.

    The four-man defense played three times in the same formation. The central defenders Bridge and Samuel covered each other in the middle. Lenarduzzi was used as right full-back. The team's senior and captain Wilson was charged with the position of the left full-back.

    The indefatigable Ragan played in the left midfield during all the games. Although he did not have the qualities of a playmaker he was nevertheless the Canadians' central organizer and their driving force. He was supported by Gray in the encounters with Hungary and the USSR. Against France, Ragan was assisted by the talented James whose qualities as a slightly retreated right winger came to bear very well in this position.

    Norman was given an offensive role on one of the flanks. Against France, Sweeney ran wide on the left side, operating as a retreated winger.

    Three players were available for the two positions upfront. The lightning-quick Valentine was used in all three games. Vrablic, Canada's goal getter was nominated for the first two matches and was then replaced by Mitchell against the USSR.

    Attacking Play
    The attacking play was based on the physical and mental qualities of the Canadians: fastness, stamina, running power and fighting spirit. They bridged the midfield as fast as possible and directly went for the opposing goal.

    As soon as the defenders had conquered the ball, they tried to bring the forwards into action by long passes. The midfield players immediately followed up and tried to run clear. One of their main tasks was to chase or to fight for the rebounds in order to launch their strikers once again.

    Other characteristics of the Canadian offensive play were swift runs down the flanks followed by sharp crosses and shots from all positions and distances. But in the penalty area the players mostly lacked vision and coolness. Some Canadians did not dispose of the necessary skill, an essential factor at full speed. This is also a reason why the Canadian team did not score one of their many opportunities.

    Defensive Play
    The strong points of the Canadian team were undoubtedly to be found in defense. They were well organized at the back. The positional play of the defenders was next to perfect. Their mutual understanding proved to be very good. One really had the impression that this team have been built up over years, with only some few changes.

    The physical qualities of the defenders proved to be quite useful in all their defensive actions. The two central defenders Bridge and Samuel could not be harassed by high crosses. Thanks to the well-trained abilities in tackling and the uncompromising commitment of all the defenders, the Canadians were able to stand their ground even against teams provided with superior skills without having to resort to unnecessary fouls.

    Manager Waiters presented a well-balanced team with a good mutual understanding. They had their strong sides certainly in the mental field. The disciplined party was provided with an exceptional morale. Each player was willing to devote himself completely to the team. There was no other team at this World Cup tournament with such a highly developed feeling of solidarity. Some players arrived in Mexico-coming from the Canadian indoors championship (sic) - just a few days before their first game and thus could hardly adapt themselves to the altitude. Nevertheless, the team appeared to be in good shape. The Canadians set a good example that even at top level it is possible to cope with difficult situations with determination and enthusiasm

    Manager Waiters was clever enough to let his team perform their familiar soccer, regardless of altitude and heat. To play with a pressing means that all team members have to run a lot and that the harmony among them has to be excellent. As soon as the ball was lost, the opponents were attacked and put under pressure. For this reason, they had enormous difficulties to develop their own game and to find their rhythm.

    Canada made great trouble to the French team and had to concede the crucial goal only ten minutes from time. Against Hungary, the Canadians assaulted continuously the opposing goal. It was only because of a lack in coolness and a great deal of bad luck that they did not win a point in their best game. The Soviets too were faced with some problems. It took them 60 minutes to break down the astonishing Canadians. Canada's first participation in the World Cup Finals must doubtlessly be regarded as a gain. The fighting spirit of all players, their commitment and enthusiasm deserve congratulations!

    From left to right Wilson, Lenarduzzi, Valentine, Bridge, Ragan, James, Samuel, Norman, Sweeny, Vrablic, Dolan

    Tony Waiters
    Tony Waiters (49) was goalkeeper with the English First Division club Blackpool from 1957-69, with 257 first team appearances. Later on, he was transferred to Burnley where he finished his career as a player. He played five times for England: against Brazil, Wales, Ireland Rep., Belgium and the Netherlands.


    Waiters began his career as a manager quite successfully: in 1973 he won the European Championships with the English youth team. In the same year he was appointed manager of the Third Division club Plymouth Argyle and managed to be promoted to the Second Division with this team in 1975.

    In 1977 Waiters went to Canada. With the Vancouver Whitecaps he was at the same time president, general manager and coach. In 1979 this team became champions of the NASL.

    In 1983 he took over the Canadian national team, working at the same time in an advisory capacity for the Canadian Soccer Association. Canada qualified for the soccer tournament of the Olympic Games in Los Angeles in 1984. After a victory over Cameroon (3:1), a draw against Iraq (1:1) and a defeat against Yugoslavia (0:1), Canada achieved the Quarter-Finals. The game against Brazil ended in a draw (1:1), Canada lost the shoot-out and were eliminated.

    The Canadian youth team managed to qualify for two World Youth Championships (WYC). At the WYC '79 in Japan, Canada caused a great surprise with a 3:1 victory over Portugal.

    After losing to Korea Rep. (0:1) and to Paraguay (0:3) the Canadian side were eliminated. Four players from the select team for Mexico were first string players of that youth national team: Bridge, Gray, Segota and Sweeney.

    From the team participating in the WYC '85 in USSR no players were admitted to Canada's Mexico team. No less than 13 players, however, were already present at the Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

    Canada v. France 0:1 (0:0)
    June 1/1986 4:00 pm Leon, Nou Camp Stadium

    Canada: Dolan - Lenarduzzi, Bridge, Samuel, Wilson - Norman,
    James (82' Segota), Ragan, Sweeney (54' Lowery) -Vrablic, Valentine

    France: Bats -Amoros, Battiston, Bossis,Tusseau-Tigana,
    Giresse, Platini, Fernandez- Rocheteau (70' Stopyra), Papin

    Referee: H. Silva Arce, Chile
    Linesmen: R. Mendez Molina, Guatemala, B. Ulloa Morera, Costa Rica
    Goals: 79' Papin 0:1
    Spectators: 65,500

    There are many roads to success and not only a single one; this is also true with football. Canada and France demonstrated this in their opening game of Group C quite clearly.

    As it was to be expected the Canadians played rather "British". Starting with much self-confidence they were very strong in their tackles, superior in the air and tried to demonstrate a simple attacking play. The French seemed to be surprised by this resistance.

    The European Champions, being undoubtedly superior with regard to skill and international experience, were not able to determine the rhythm of the game for a longer time. The resolute tackling of the Canadian athletes, their long passes from the solid defense, the swift moves on the wing, the sharp crosses and shots from all positions and distances disconcerted the French time and again. At the end, however, Papin's goal gave France a highly deserved 1:0 victory, due to the fact that Fernandez, Platini, Giresse, Tigana and Papin had definitely more scoring chances than their opponents Norman, Wilson, Bridge, Valentine and Vrablic.

    Hungary v. Canada 2:0 (1:0)
    June 6/1986 12:00 pm Irapuato, Irapuato Stadium

    Hungary: Szendrei - Kardos - Sallai, Nagy (62' Dajka), Garaba, Varga - Burcsa (28' Roth), Detari, Bognar- Kiprich, Esterhazy

    Canada: Lettieri - Lenarduzzi, Bridge, Samuel, Wilson (40' Sweeney) - James (53' Segota), Gray, Ragan, Norman -Valentine, Vrablic

    Referee: J. AI-Sharif, Syria
    Linesmen: Z . Petrovic, Yugoslavia; C. Bambridge, Australia

    Goals: 2' Esterhazy 1:0; 75' Detari 2:0
    Cautions: Sweeney (52'), Lenarduzzi (83')
    Expulsions: Sweeney (85')
    Spectators: 13,800

    Anxiety is a bad precondition for success. The shock of the high defeat against USSR had obviously developed into a nightmare in the Hungarian team.

    Even after an early 2nd minute lead by Esterhazy the players at times seemed to be paralyzed, anxious and helpless.

    The Canadians played recklessly and embarrassed the Hungarian defense time and again. Hungary was lucky that the Canadians showed poor finishing abilities and gave away all their chances. If they had succeeded in equalizing, the Canadians could have even won the game.

    When Hungary were close to a breakdown, Detari launched with a well-timed pass Kiprich whose shot bounced back from the goalkeeper but Detari, having followed the action, sent it in scoring the decisive 2:0. Now the Hungarians finally lost all their anxiety. They showed flowing combinations and proved to be excellent football players.

    USSR v. Canada 2:0 (0:0)
    June 9/1986 12:00 pm Irapuato, Irapuato Stadium

    USSR: Chanov- Bubnov- Bal, Kuznetsov, Morozov- Litovchenko, Aleinikov, Yevtushenko, Rodionov- Protasov (57' Belanov), Blokhin (61' Zavarov)

    Canada: Lettieri - Lenarduzzi, Bridge, Samuel, Wilson -James (64' Segota), Ragan, Gray (69' Pakos) - Valentine, Mitchell

    Referee: I. Traoré, Mali
    Linesmen: F. AI-Shanar, Saudi Arabia; G. Gonzalez Roa, Paraguay

    Goals: 58' Blokhin 1:0; 74' Zavarov 2 :0
    Spectators: 14,200

    In their third game, the Russians gave Blokhin and Protasov an opportunity to play. Some players from Dynamo Kiev, who have had a very hard season, could so enjoy a welcome rest. The changes in the line-up had some effects on the performance of the Soviets. Canada were a difficult opponent, displaying a great deal of determination, willpower and concentration. They also contributed to a good and fair atmosphere.

    The maturity in the game of USSR was shown in the second-half by flowing combinations and superior individual performances. The effectiveness of the Russian attacks was increased in particular after Belanov had replaced Protasov. It was Belanov who prepared the first goal scored by Blokhin (58th minute). Immediately afterwards Blokhin had to be replaced. His substitute, Zavarov, scored the second goal, which meant at the same time that USSR had won their group. Canada's brave performances in all their games should actually be a big additional motivation for the further improvement of football in that country.

  2. Moaca

    Moaca Member

    Mar 8, 2006
    Tks to sstackho at Vs for headsup

    Heady Days: World Cup Soccer
    It's been 20 years since our national team captivated the nation with its magic 'March to Mexico.' They haven't been back since.
    Dan Stinson, Vancouver Sun

    Published: Saturday, June 03, 2006

    Canadians Paul James and Randy Samuel parade around the pitch in St. John's, Nfld., after beating Honduras 2-1 on Sept. 14, 1985, to clinch the country's first World Cup berth. Photograph by: Canadian Press Files

    As the greatest sports show on Earth gets set to unfold -- soccer's World Cup tournament -- it's a time of eager anticipation for 32 teams and their devout fans on the fields and in the stadiums of Germany.

    Aficionados of Canadian soccer, however, will have to be satisfied with a stroll along memory lane. After failing to qualify for the 2006 global spectacle, Canada's claim to fame on soccer's international stage remains a berth in the 1986 World Cup tournament in Mexico. It was this country's first -- and only -- appearance in the quadrennial tournament.

    Memories of those heady days of Canadian soccer are still remarkably vivid on the 20th anniversary of the historic achievement.

    "It was historic, but I remember thinking at the time that this was something for Canadian soccer to build on," says Tony Waiters, a transplanted Englishman who was head coach of Canada's '86 World Cup team. "There's no doubt that qualifying for the World Cup was a great achievement in itself. But my hope then was that we had laid the foundation for future suceess in Canadian international soccer. Sadly, that hasn't been the case."

    Canada's 'March to Mexico' was helped in large part by many of its players' participation in the North American Soccer League -- a continent-wide, star-studded circuit that at its zenith featured some of the best players in the game. Brazilian legend Pele, Germany's Franz Beckenbauer, England's Alan Ball and Johan Cruyff of the Netherlands were among the world-class players who played in the NASL before its demise following the 1984 season.

    Waiters, who was head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps in their 1979 NASL championship season, has no doubt that the league was the main factor in the Canadian team's World Cup berth.

    "The majority of Canada's players had played in the NASL, with and against some of the best in the game," Waiters says. "It was a case of sink or swim for Canadian players to keep their jobs in the NASL. They were forced to raise their level of play to keep their jobs and were well prepared to play for the national team as a result."

    Mexico qualified automatically as host of the '86 World Cup, leaving Canada, Costa Rica and Honduras to battle for the one remaining CONCACAF zone berth in the then 24-team tournament.

    Waiters' 22-man roster included 14 players who were either born in B.C. or products of the B.C. soccer system. The list included forwards Dale Mitchell and George Pakos, midfielders David Norman, Mike Sweeney, Randy Ragan, Jamie Lowery and Greg Ion, defenders Bob Lenarduzzi, Bruce Wilson, Randy Samuel, Ian Bridge and Colin Miller, and goalkeepers Paul Dolan and Sven Habermann.

    Rounding out the roster were forwards Carl Valentine, Igor Vrablic and Branko Segota, midfielders Pasquale de Luca, Gerry Gray and Paul James, defender Terry Moore and 'keeper Tino Lettieri.

    Canada clinched a World Cup berth with a 2-1 win over Honduras on Sept. 14, 1985 in St. John's, Nfld. Pakos and Vrablic scored Canada's goals, both off Valentine corner kicks, before a capacity crowd at King George V Stadium and a nation-wide CBC audience.

    It was Valentine's only qualifying game for Canada. Born in Manchester, England, he joined the Canadian team from his English League club, West Bromwich Albion.

    "I was hoping to be picked to the England [World Cup] team," says Valentine, who played for the Whitecaps in their '79 championship season and returned to the English League following the NASL's demise. "As it turned out, I was the first English League player to qualify for the '86 World Cup. Canada qualified for Mexico before England did, and I've always worn that as a sort of badge of honour."

    The euphoria of qualifying for the World Cup was quickly tempered by Canada's draw in the tournament. Pitted against reigning European champion France, Hungary and the Soviet Union, Canada was placed in Group C -- a widely regarded group of death that led oddsmakers to take bets on Canada's chances to even score a goal in the initial stage.

    Canada's first opponent was France, on June 1, 1986 at Leon. The French team included captain Michel Platini, one of the world's most elegant midfielders. Equally vital to the French team were midfielder Alain Giresse and forward Jean-Pierre Papin, a future European player of the year.

    "My most vivid memory of the '86 World Cup was standing in the tunnel prior to our game against France," says Lenarduzzi, Canada's starting right fullback.

    "The Canadian players were standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the likes of Platini and Giresse, and I remember thinking it was only a matter of how many goals we were going to get beaten by. At that point, you started to realize that this thing's for keeps."

    Dolan, who at age 20 was Canada's starting 'keeper against France, had other thoughts.

    "We were expected to get pummelled, so I didn't feel quite as uptight as you'd normally think a young player would be going into a World Cup game," he says. "France were clearly favoured and we just wanted to keep the score respectable. I actually felt pretty good. I had a good warmup and a focused mindset going in. It certainly wasn't a nothing-to-lose attitude because we were playing France."

    Dolan was somewhat prescient. France couldn't break through Canada's disciplined defence until the 79th minute, when Yannick Stopyra headed a long cross from the right flank across goal to Papin, who tapped the ball home near the far post. The goal stood up for a 1-0 France win.

    "It was an unfortunate sequence of errors on our part and I was as much to blame as anyone," says Lenarduzzi. "I should have cut the cross off. [Dolan] came out for the cross and missed, and I thought it was going out for a goal kick."

    Dolan says Canada earned instant respect in the Mexican media after the game.

    "Before the game, the Mexican reporters were asking me how many goals I would let in," he says. "Eight? Nine? I just smiled and said we hoped to keep it close."

    It was Canada's best performance in the World Cup. Hungary and the Soviet Union posted 2-0 wins over Canada at Irapuato on June 6 and 9, respectively, making the oddsmakers look good on the no-goals bet.

    Lenarduzzi was presented with Canada's best scoring chance in the three games, but miskicked a shot in the six-yard box in the match against the Soviet Union.

    "A rebound fell right to me, but I first-timed a weak shot harmlessly into the 'keeper's hands. And I've been reminded of that miss for the past 20 years," Lenarduzzi says with a chuckle.

    Canada's failure to qualify for a World Cup tournament in those 20 years has been a subject of much analysis and discussion -- especially in light of the fact that Canada didn't even reach the final round of CONCACAF qualifying for this year's World Cup.

    Waiters says a professional soccer league is desperately needed in Canada -- similar to the Canadian Soccer League that operated from 1987 to 1992 before financial problems, mostly related to travel expenses, forced its demise.

    "If we can't get a league of our own in Canada, I very much doubt that we can get to the World Cup finals," says Waiters. "People tend to forget that some very good players came out of the CSL. Many of those players graduated to European teams. We need to come up with the right business plan for a new Canadian league. If we don't have a national league to develop our players, we'll continue to struggle in international soccer."

    Lenarduzzi argues that the current USL First Division, which includes the Whitecaps, Toronto Lynx and Montreal Impact as Canadian members, is the way to go. The USL had five Canadian teams as recently as 2004, when Calgary and Edmonton were part of the circuit. But the Alberta teams folded after the 2004 season.

    "I'm not an advocate of a new Canadian league," says Lenarduzzi, the Whitecaps' director of soccer operations. "We've been down that road and it didn't work. I think we have to build on the USL model -- a north-south league that has Canadian teams playing against U.S. teams, as opposed to an east-west domestic league. In some respects, the USL is the modern-day equivalent of the old NASL. And we can see the standard of play improving every year in the USL."

    Lenarduzzi says another key to Canada's World Cup qualifying chances is youth player development. "We need to do a better job developing Canadian players who are seven, eight and nine years old," he says. "Most of the rest of the world does a better job developing those players than Canada does. We need a more streamlined and comprehensive approach right across Canada."

    Waiters agrees on that point.

    "No question that youth development is very important," he says. "But I don't think three professional teams in Canada is enough. A new Canadian league would give our 18-, 19- and 20-year-old players a place to play. We must have a national east-west league. But no one seems to be addressing that need at the moment. It seems to be on the back burner."

    Dale Mitchell, head coach of Canada's under-20 men's team that will play host to the FIFA World Youth Cup tournament in 2007, has long been an advocate of developing players at home.

    "We need a full-time professional soccer league in Canada where players are paid, make a comfortable living, and can train year-round," he says. "I'm not really worried about the logistics of it. The main point is that we need to develop more of our players at home."

    One point is undebatable: Canada was 83rd in the latest world rankings by FIFA, soccer's governing body. Which suggests this country has a long road to travel before another story of a World Cup appearance can be written.

    Team Canada 1986: Where are they now?

    The Canadian men's soccer team made a magical 'March to Mexico', qualifying for its first -- and last -- World Cup in 1986. Here's a look at the men responsible for the run, which came to an end in the group stage:

    Paul Dolan: Goalkeepers coach with Canada's senior national team; broadcaster; Umbro sports equipment employee.
    Tino Lettieri: Employed in food industry in Minneapolis, Minn.
    Sven Habermann: Car salesman in Fraser Valley area.

    Bob Lenarduzzi: Vancouver Whitecaps' director of soccer opertations.
    Randy Samuel: Has own soccer coaching service business in Richmond.
    Ian Bridge: Head coach, Canada's under-20 women's team.
    Bruce Wilson: Head coach, University of Victoria Vikes men's team.
    Colin Miller: Head coach, Abbotsford Soccer Association.
    Terry Moore: Policeman in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

    Pasquale de Luca: Living in Edmonton.
    Gerry Gray: Coaching soccer in Federal Way, Wash.
    David Norman: Runs own online sports registration company in Vancouver.
    Randy Ragan: Lawyer in Ottawa.
    Mike Sweeney: Runs own soccer club in Cleveland.
    Jamie Lowery: Operates tour bus in Victoria.
    Paul James: Athletics director, Ontario's York University.
    Greg Ion: Runs youth soccer team in Tacoma, Wash.

    Dale Mitchell: Head coach, Canada's under-20 men's soccer team.
    Carl Valentine: Head coach, North Shore Soccer Association.
    George Pakos: Civil servant in Victoria.
    Igor Vrablic: Unknown.
    Branko Segota: Unknown.

    Tony Waiters: Owns and operates World of Soccer business in Surrey.

    A few of the Team Canada veterans (right) pose with a 1986 World Cup poster. (Pic not available)

    Back row: Bob Lenarduzzi, Colin Miller, Carl Valentine.
    Front row: Paul Dolan, Coach Tony Waiters and Dale Mitchell.
  3. leszek-antonio

    leszek-antonio Member

    Mar 16, 2008
    Toronto, Canada
    FC Barcelona
    I hope Canada makes some changes soon. Professional player development with a leauge is needed. We do have the interest and the potential here. What we dont have is the setup. While playing as a 15-17 year old in Canada, my only hope was to go to the US on a scholarship or if you were really, really good, then go to Europe. However, most Canadian talent will not get this chance and therefore, they need to be developed here in Canada. Lots of talent is lost like this. :(
  4. msilverstein47

    msilverstein47 BigSoccer Supporter

    Jan 11, 1999
    United States

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